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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Certain kinds of patients would not be affected by hospital-insurance split

Updating the Mary Washington-Anthem contract dispute.

Even if Mary Washington Healthcare withdraws from the Anthem provider network at the end of the year, there are certain kinds of Anthem patients who will not be affected.

According to Sean Barden, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Mary Washington, Mary Washington’s contract with Anthem makes an exception for three kinds of patients:

  • Women in the second or third trimester of their pregnancies.
  • Patients who are terminally ill.
  • Patients whose hospital stay begins while Mary Washington is an Anthem provider but ends after MWHC withdraws from the network.

These patients would be covered as if Mary Washington was still an Anthem provider. Of course, Mary Washington officials said recently that, should a split occur, they will treat all Anthem patients as if MWHC was still a member of Anthem’s network. Patients will continue to pay the same in-network, out-of- pocket amounts described in their plans, company officials said.

In a related development, the folks at the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center disagreed with the notion that they were “soliciting” Mary Washington’s customers. I used that word in a blog post Friday to describe one of the questions in the “Anthem Insurance FAQ” section on their website.

The question was: “I’ve been going to Mary Washington Healthcare for a long time and my records are located there. If I come to SRMC for service, will you be able to access my medical records?”

The hospital’s answer: “Yes, we can request your records from Mary Washington or any other hospital.”

Jeanne Burkett, hospital spokeswoman, said this in an email:

“Our FAQs are simply that: Frequently Asked Questions that reference questions already presented at our hospital. By posting information, we are not soliciting their business, but simply providing information. If you look at the synonyms for soliciting, you’ll see alternative phrases such as beg, petition, request, or implore. Posting FAQs on a website for information purposes is hardly begging for the reader’s business.”

(Friday’s blog post can be found here. It has links to other posts and to websites operated by Mary Washington and Anthem.)